1891 – Monadnock Building
Innovation: Monadnock Building
Location: Chicago, IL
By: Burnham and Root Architects / Holabird & Roche
The Monadnock Building was completed in 1893 and at the time was the world’s largest office building. The North half of the building was John Root’s last design as he died during its construction process. Due to complications, Root’s business partner Daniel Burnham was unable to complete the rest of the building. Instead the owners of the Monadnock hired Holabird & Roche to complete the south half of the building. The two halves are similar in size and scale, but are greatly different in design. The north half resembles modern architecture due to its clean faces and lack of exterior ornament. The south half is much more classical as seen from the facades and the structure surrounding the roof.
The Monadnock building stands as an important advancement in structural methods. Buildings that preceded it were mainly supported by their exterior walls. The north half is one of the few tall buildings ever built that is supported by brick walls, which are six feet thick at ground level. The south half of the Monadnock is built in the same fashion with the exception of the south quarter, which supported by a steel frame known as a curtain wall.